By The Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign
Women business owners are a leading driver of economic growth for our country. When women start businesses, they produce greater economic opportunity for their entire communities by creating new jobs and creative solutions to challenges. This October, we celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month (NWSBM) by recognizing the achievements women business owners have made and the progress that still needs to be done to eliminate the obstacles they face.
One challenge all small business owners face is strengthening their company’s cybersecurity. Cyber attacks can result in significant financial loss and damaged consumer confidence for a business of any size. However, small businesses tend to be prime targets, as they typically have weak cybersecurity systems in place. In addition, small businesses have valuable information that cybercriminals seek, including customer records, bank account and credit card information and other sensitive financial data. As the number of cyber attacks on small businesses rises, it is critical for companies to prioritize protection against online threats.
In addition to being NWSBM, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), an annual effort led by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). NCSAM provides an opportunity for DHS to share resources to help small businesses protect themselves against cyber threats. Here are four resources that small business owners can leverage today to improve their company’s cybersecurity:
- The FCC Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0: An online resource to help small businesses create customized cybersecurity plans. The tool was developed in partnership between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), DHS, the National Cyber Security Alliance and private sector partners.
- C³ Voluntary Program SMB Toolkit: A packet that contains resources specifically designed to help small and midsize businesses (SMBs) recognize and address their cybersecurity risks. The resources are from DHS and include talking points for CEOs, steps to start evaluating your cybersecurity program and a list of hands-on resources available to SMBs.
- DHS Stop.Think.Connect.™ Toolkit: A variety of resources from DHS for SMBs to help improve their company’s cybersecurity, including presentations, guides and tip cards.
- SBA’s Cybersecurity for Small Business Training: An online course from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that covers the basics of cybersecurity and information security, including common cyber threats and best practices.
DHS also encourages small business owners to promote a culture of cybersecurity within their companies. All employees, from an entry-level hire to the CEO, have a responsibility to practice safe online habits. Remind all employees to take the following simple steps to stay safe online:
- Set strong passwords and change them regularly.
- Keep your usernames, passwords or other computer/website access codes private.
- Only open e-mails and attachments from people you know.
- When you work from home, secure your Internet connection by using a firewall, encrypt information and hide your Wi-Fi network.
As a partner in the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign, Stop.Think.Connect.™, NAWBO is committed to promoting the online safety message. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. Learn more about day-to-day best practices and what you can do to be more cyber secure at www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect. To join and follow the conversation about NCSAM, use the hashtag, #CyberAware, on social media.
To receive cybersecurity tips year round, visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect and become a Friend of the Stop.Think.Connect.™ Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign.